DEATH: THE ENEMY, number 13
The basic elements consist of death having dismembered people. It has a scythe with which it has cut down outworn ideas (the heads), standpoints (the feet), and hands (activities). Death is wielding its weapon and seems indomitable. Yet there are sprouts emerging from the earth, and one of the heads is wearing a crown, indicating that a ruling principle is still present which may come to new life, indicating the possibility of renewal. Ultimately life comes from death. What seems the enemy, is actualy clearing out the old, the decaying, to make way for the new, for an ultimate rebirth.
Despite the chaotic strewing of dismembered parts plants are sprouting all over, new life is emerging. Many of the sprouts are yellow and blue, the colors of intuition and spirit. Mini deaths can bring forth wisdom and deepening of spirit. In primitive societies young men are taken through terrifying ordeals and circumcised. Yet at the end they have survived and learned to accept their new stage of development, learning to become young men. The blood-letting of the boy produces the man.
Frequently a person may be attached to something that is not good for them, and initially what they wanted but did not attain seems like a terrible loss, a death of a sort, and life seems no longer worth living. A young woman, Margarita, in the colonial times of Lima, Peru was deeply infatuated with a young man, Bernardo, who on the surface seemed the ideal man. She prayed to St. Anthony, patron of sweethearts, that she might marry him. But no, she lost him to another woman, so in a rage she turned St. Anthony’s statue towards the wall and screamed, “I’ll never pray to you again.” A year later in the mercado (market) she met an old friend, who also knew Bernardo. She asked Margarita, “Do you know what happened? Bernardo’s wife left him. He was cheating on her, and worse beating her regularly. She finally couldn’t take it.”
Margarita blanched at the narrow escape she had had. She then realized why St. Anthony had not granted her wish. She rushed back to the his statue, turned him around and weeping begged his pardon and thanked him for having saved her from such a terrible fate. Sometimes some losses are ultimately gains.
As you meditate on death, ask yourself, what is it that needs to be cut off from your life to make way for the new, and ask Death for the courage to let go what no longer serves life in you. Or you might look at a situation that seemed a terrible loss, but ask Death “What life lesson have I learned that has liberated me from something that was not good for me.”